I started writing this response as a reaction to a post in this thread
then realized it probably belonged here instead.
I think this stuff shouldn't be lreaked to the public. Neither should the footage of the Sea World worker who was killed a bit back.
While I can understand the family of the sea world worker being upset over that footage being leaked, I do think the video serves as a sobering point of reality for animal rights activists and opponents. Animals are just that; dangerous creatures capable of unpredictable and savage behavior.
The total animal liberation types need to remember that animals are not intelligent enough to behave in a conscientious fashion and we've subjugated them because they are not
our friends. They can be our allies by matter of circumstance and certainly are valuable citizens of this planet, but you can't treat creatures with the same ethical considerations as you do humans (not to say they have no ethical value, but I think it's absolutely insane to believe all life should be considered equal regardless of their level of sentience and intelligence). They are fundamentally incapable of making ethical decisions, and sometimes they do wild and crazy things like sporadically harm humans for no reason whatsoever. They are neither benevolent nor malevolent, animals are creatures of instinct, not choice.
Then you've got the other side of the aisle that often doesn't consider all of the implications of domestication of animals. Whether you worry about the moral considerations of caging an animal, keeping it in your home as a pet, or holding it in a zoo, it's dangerous to forget that you're dealing with a wild beast. Even the most domesticated of animals will on occasion attack a member of your family and there have been instances where dogs and cats have seriously injured their owners or their owner's family.
I think it's a good idea to show animals a certain measure of respect (not necessarily all animals an equal amount however), because of the similarity that animal life has to human life (we are animals after all). I believe a sliding scale should be used, the more similar the creature in question is to humans, the more ethical consideration that should be given to that creature. I hold this view in part because, if we didn't enforce that principle people would become desensitized to inflicting suffering and harm on living creatures and in general I think that abusing an animal is bad for a human being's mental health.
If you think about it, very few people would consider killing a fly a moral injustice, but if you consider all animals to be ethically equivalent, then killing a fly is far more egregious than beating your dog (so long as the animal survives). This is why I advocate the sliding scale, because insects clearly have very little in common with humans, whereas dogs are clearly much higher on the evolutionary ladder and thus closer to humans. Committing fly genocide isn't going to foster within you sociopathetic tendencies or a lack of appreciation for the value of human life, but I think violently murdering thousands of puppies would certainly scar you psychologically in some way (though I do make a distinction between murder and putting an animal down in a humane way obviously).
I still feel a bit like my ideas on this subject are cobbled together and inconsistent, not to mention lacking in any underlying principles which form this position. Right now what I have is a bunch of ad hoc notions assembled in a way that forms a practical, but inelegant ethical structure. Has anyone else given this thought and come up with a logical principle that is more succinct than my opinions which doesn't require a fundamental reworking of the way the average person views animal rights and answers the dog vs. fly moral value quandry?